Aircraft builder Lockheed Martin to purchase Sikorsky for $9 bil - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Aircraft builder Lockheed Martin to purchase Sikorsky for $9 billion

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(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)
(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)
STRATFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A multi-billion dollar deal involving Sikorsky Aircraft could be announced on Monday.

The Stratford-based helicopter maker is reportedly being sold by United Technologies to Lockheed Martin, officials reported on Monday morning.

The Bethesda, MD-based global security and aerospace company said it’s a $9 billion deal. Original reports had it worth $8 billion.

“Sikorsky is a natural fit for Lockheed Martin and complements our broad portfolio of world-class aerospace and defense products and technologies,” said Marillyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin chairman, president and CEO. “I’m confident this acquisition will help us extend our core business into the growing areas of helicopter production and sustainment. Together, we’ll offer a strong portfolio of helicopter solutions to our global customers and accelerate the pace of innovation and new technology development.”

The agreement is still subject to regulatory approvals, Hewson said. The deal is expected to close by late fourth quarter 2015 or early first quarter 2016.

The transaction will have no impact on the company's previously stated commitments to return cash to shareholders through dividends and to reduce outstanding share count to below 300 million shares by the end of 2017, Lockheed Martin officials said.

“This combination seems the most effective of available options, but, as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I urge the Pentagon to swiftly assure that the Stratford plant will continue in full capacity to manufacture the world's best helicopters in the number our nation needs," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal. "This plant and its workforce are a vital national security asset."

United Technologies announced last month that it would look to sell Sikorsky.

The announcement was made during a time when Sikorsky said it was cutting 1,400 jobs, 180 of them in Connecticut.

The company said it employs about 8,000 workers at its Stratford headquarters.

Those workers could soon be employees of the nation’s largest weapons maker, Lockheed Martin.

Stratford Mayor John A. Harkins said Sikorsky has had “a long, rich history” in town since the invention of the helicopter in Connecticut.

"We look forward to meeting and working with Sikorsky's new ownership, just as we always have with United Technologies. We will also continue working with state and federal officials to help keep Sikorsky in Stratford for decades to come,” Harkins said in a statement on Monday.    

Lawmakers are asking about the deal’s impact on local jobs.

“Regardless of ownership, Sikorsky’s skilled, dedicated workers produce the world’s best helicopters,” Blumenthal said. “And I will fight to assure that they continue to make them. This workforce is a vital national security asset.”

Sen. Chris Murphy also vowed to work towards protecting the jobs.

“As the sale of Sikorsky becomes final, I will work closely with Sikorsky leadership to protect those jobs and ensure that Sikorsky helicopters continue to be made right here in Connecticut by our skilled and talented workforce,” Murphy said.

U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, who represents Stratford, said the purchase was “good news” and that Lockheed Martin was “committed to both the military and commercial helicopter business.”

“I will work closely with their leadership to ensure that the work currently being done in Stratford stays in Stratford,” DeLauro, who talked with Bob Leduc on Monday morning, said.  “I welcome Lockheed Martin to the helicopter business and look forward to working with them as they deliver the world’s best helicopters to our brave men and women in the Armed Forces.” 

Lockheed Martin said it will conduct a strategic review for its government IT and technical services businesses, which represent $6 billion in 2015 annual sales and more than 17,000 employees.

“As global security market dynamics shift, this review will strengthen our competitive posture, enabling sustained, profitable growth and positioning Lockheed Martin to deliver value for customers, shareholders and employees,” Hewson said.

More information about the acquisition can be found on Lockheed Martin's website here.

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